Neels & Company - Strategic Business Communication
Trusted Advisor
Gretchen Neels
Gretchen Neels, President, Neels & Company

Dear Trusted Advisor

I heard you speak to a group of law students where you implored us to not wear flip-flops when commuting to the office. I’m working in New York City this summer and would like to know what type of footwear, exactly, constitutes an “appropriate” shoe.
J.G., New York

Dear J.G.:
Glad my words of wisdom sunk in! Because you never know who may cross your path on your commute, you’ll want to look polished and put together, from head to toe. Leave those flip-flops in your beach bag, and consider the super comfy and good looking Verano by Sofft, which will get you to and from the office in style.



We’re taking our popular seminar, Total Image Management®, on the road this fall, to a city near you. These small, powerful two-day professional development events are for women who are serious about developing the distinctive edge they’ll need in this economy to ramp up, switch gears or re-enter the workplace. See you in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boston, Tysons Corner, Washington and Atlanta. Early birds save $200! Click here to start the transformation process.

Our website has gotten a face-lift. If you haven’t visited in a while, take a look at our new seminars, check out our videos, and sign up as a Preferred Guest and access lots of free guidelines, checklists and other information we believe you’ll find useful.

Interested in learning about body type, color, and fit when it comes to fashion? Teresa Morisco of Wardrobe911 can teach you the ropes in beautiful San Francisco July 18-19. I attended the Bootcamp in January and it was spectacular. Check it out here.


The Personal Touch

A recent Wall Street Journal article by Jane Porter caught my eye with the title, “Lawyers Often Lack the Skills Needed to Draw, Keep Clients.” Well, it’s not just lawyers. Many executives in fields such as consulting, accounting and financial services also don’t seem to grasp what’s needed to attract clients and nurture fruitful, long-term business relationships.

Porter’s article stressed the importance of making a positive first impression, dressing well and knowing the basics of business development. Sound familiar? Now more than ever, it’s essential to look the part and convey one’s competence with confidence. Most people agree that professionals have a “personal brand.” If this is true, then what you wear is the packaging and how you communicate with others is your marketing plan.

Presenting yourself with confidence and polish will set you apart from competitors at a time when building relationships is crucial. I’d like to share a few simple tips with new and seasoned professionals looking to draw and keep clients. Adopt these three practices regularly for the next 90 days and you will see results. I know it’s summer, but if you want to be taken seriously, get serious.

    1. Dress to impress. For the next three months, select your clothing and dress each day as if you will meet an important person (potential employer, new client, someone who might refer business to you). Hint: On any given day, those you meet could actually be a potential employer, new client, or person who is so impressed they will refer you business.

    2. Use the PASS Code. Think P-A-S-S each time you meet someone:
    Posture. Stand up straight and tall, and don’t slouch when you sit. Jump to your feet whenever you are introduced to someone, regardless of age or gender.
    Attitude. Convey enthusiasm and warmth – if you don’t quite feel it, fake it.
    Smile. A smile says “I’m approachable,” and makes people more inclined to speak to you.
    Shake, as in handshake. Make sure yours is firm – not limp, and not bone crushing – and meet the other person’s eye when making contact.

    3. Follow up. If you say you’re going to call someone, do it. When a friend or colleague gives you a referral, don’t delay. Answer your phone, return calls and email. Personally, it’s my policy to call everyone back who calls me – the knock of opportunity is often obscured, and you never know who that sales person or fund raiser leaving a message may be connected to. Getting back to people with a simple “no thank you,” will also make you stand out.

Contact me after completing the 90-day challenge, and let me know how it went. I’ll be certain to return the call.

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We are the leading provider of soft skills training to professional services firms, covering all areas of business communication.

Neels & Company, Inc. – Strategic Business Communication
P. O. Box 623, Boston, MA 02117
800-975-7031 ext. 701
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